One of the hallmarks of pro wrestling TV shows for the last 20 years has been the opening promo which sets the tone for the rest of the show. This style of television was firmly established in WWE during the Attitude Era and has carried over into today where a majority of wrestling shows, regardless of the promotion, all start with the tone-setting promo.
Discussing this while reviewing the May 11, 1999 episode of Monday Night Raw on podcast, Bruce Prichard reveals that this is a philosophy preferred by Vince Russo, the head writer of WWE at this time, but will occasionally be altered for a week at the suggestion of either himself, Pat Patterson, or another wrestling traditionalist.
"[Russo] liked starting off the show with the in-ring segments and felt that that set the tone for the rest of the evening. Get everything out. Let people know what they're going to see for the next two hours," Bruce began. "A lot of times that change up would come from, for example, me or Pat Patterson or more of a traditionalist as it's sometimes you sit there with a stopwatch and go, 'Okay. We had forty-two minutes to talk and we only had so many minutes of wrestling.'"
Bruce would also say that at the time, this style fit the product and that the belief was as long as the dialogue was good, the more talking that was seen from top stars, the better the show would be received.
He continued, "I think that the audience, and it's been proven time and time again, that if it's good talk and it's entertaining, then they like it. I know I used to watch wrestling just for the interviews. I would watch the matches, obviously, but I was waiting for those interviews. I wanted to hear my guy talk. And that was the philosophy during this time. The more talk you had, a lot of times the feeling was the better the show was."
Currently, Bruce Prichard is the Executive Director of the WWE SmackDown brand, spearheading their creative.
If you use any of these quotes, please link back to Fightful for the transcription.